Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer believes that his former club has enough to get through their Champions League group, as they prepare to take on Milan.
The Magpies play their first Champions League game in over two decades at the San Siro against Milan, as Sandro Tonali will play against his former club months after having joined from the Rossoneri in a big money move.
WIth the game to be played later today, Shearer spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport about the Magpies and their upcoming adventure in the most prestigious competition in Europe. The Englishman believes that Eddie Howe’s can get past a stiff looking group this season reaching the Round of 16 should be their objective.
He said: “The objective will be to qualify for the round of 16. Obviously it won’t be easy, but playing at Newcastle will be difficult for anyone, both due to the value of the team and the passion of the fans at St. James’s Park. I’m sure the team will be put to the test, but I think they have enough to get through the group.”
Shearer also stated that he didn’t expect Newcastle to be in the Champions League so quickly, saying: “The growth has been much faster than expected, especially considering that 18 months ago the team was fighting not to be relegated. From that starting point, playing in the Champions League is a huge step forward in a very short period of time. However, with the results also come the expectations, because no one wants to play in the Champions League and flop. The idea, if you play it, is to get noticed.”
Shearer also spoke of Tonali and praised the Italian, stating that he improves the club’s midfield with his qualities.
“His first game with Newcastle was fantastic: man of the match, goal, perfect in the middle of the pitch. I think that debut helped the fans understand who he is as a player, to understand him. And to make him feel welcome, which I’m sure will help him a lot. He probably didn’t play as well in the subsequent games, but it happens. I am convinced that Newcastle’s midfield will do very well with him.”
Kaustubh Pandey | GIFN